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Last weekend we went camping with a group of Cheng’s Indeed co-workers to Ananthagiri Hills, southwest of Hyderabad. With chilly mornings, hot afternoons, and a rainy conclusion, this trip ran the gamut of weather offerings. I was told that the sole purpose of packing a tent was to lend a legitimacy to our camp photos. Little did we know what was in store for later. Conveniently, the rains arrived after dinner cleanup, not interfering with the cooking process, but later assisting to douse our fires.  The tent kept some of us lucky ones dry overnight, but unfortunately didn’t cover all 15 of us. Many brave souls perished for our comfort (not really, but they certainly could have been drier.)

Ankur, Nikita, Cheng and I set out from Hyderabad around 7am. Since everyone else seemed to be running on Indian standard time, we wandered around a cemetery, eventually finding this narrow, elevated road leading us to the middle of a lake (according to Google Maps.) Zipping around that first sharp right knocked open the passenger door sucking Nikita to an early demise.

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With 3 of us remaining in car #1 Ankur and snapped a couple photos to memorialize the living.

IMG_2931 Cheng realized he could only hold up this massive boulder for so long before succumbing to its heft and lack of stability. Ankur tried to pull it back, but slipped in the muddy earth. Knowing he was a goner, Cheng waved us back, yelling “save yourselves!”IMG_2923We met up with more of our party on a steep climb taking us closer to our campsite. Luckily, a piano just happened to be on our packing list…
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…so Vinay played a soul-touching dirge in Cheng’s memory.
IMG_2981 Trying valiantly to move past our first 2 losses of the day, we drowsed on a tarp, watching the sun play with the fluttering leaves.IMG_2971 Our serene silence quickly crashed, creating terror in our hearts when gigantic bats appeared and brandished their bare claws threatening us with impending death!IMG_2940Cheng’s ghost magically appeared to lead us to safety under some random, space-age gazebo. 
IMG_2958 Hanging on the outskirts, eschewing the safety of the group, Rahul quickly became an easy target for the bats.IMG_2952 Carried over the edge of the cliff, we tried our best to save him, but to no avail. Shivam took it the hardest, as it was his sun-weakened grip that could not pull Rahul back up. IMG_2953Shivam fell behind the group, his sorrow eating away at him, wishing he had spent more time at the gym this year…IMG_2948 …unwittingly allowing himself to be scooped up as a test subject for the aliens that landed, leaving only dust circles as evidence of their existence. Prateek discovered the markings where their spaceships most likely landed. The rest of us scratched our heads at the idea of Shivam being an accurate representative of the human race.IMG_2950 Later, from all the stress, Vinay started to feel feverish, developing white splotches on his face. We all agreed it was probably the rare water buffalo rash that only affects young men who play a musical instrument in the woods. Vinay frantically rubbed at his rash, knowing medical help this far from town would be nonexistent, and realized it was only too much sun and sunscreen. Phew!IMG_2944While Goutam took candid photos and Ankur drizzled petrol on our cook stoves in preparation for making dinner, we noticed Shivam had returned from his alien adventure. Unfortunately, he couldn’t remember anything that happened to him during his time away and proceed to mope on the sidelines, pulling grass and calling his fiance.
IMG_2983 Given how many people were dropping like flies, and also because of the actual flies, we decided it was time to light a funeral pyre. Fortunately, Cheng, Rahul, and Nikita also miraculously revived, which turned out well as our bonfire wasn’t as big as we had hoped. IMG_2997

So long and thanks for all the fish!

(View all the photos on Flickr)

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One Comment

  1. Amusing storyline!


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